Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Josephine Gets a Letter from her Brother 767 AD

Heather, by Linda Laaksonen

The following letter to Josephine from her brother, Lorin, has so many puzzling things in it I will just annotate it .. and try to explain... Look for text in italics.

I am quite at sea about this date.. I am sure it is a year off... There is no mention of Robert or Lawrence's self-exile.. oops, I am giving away the plot! And Peter is born... You see how hard it was to divine the dates on these things.. And Laura's and my handwriting was so alike at the time that once we get to stories I won't be able to tell you who wrote which. But I digress.

To Her Majesty Josephine
Chalfont St. Giles
Affyn-Shyre Province

"Christenland" is the original name for Críslicland.

January 25, 767

Dearest Sister,

I would thou wouldst write. I know not even if thou art alive. An think, if Lawrence awakens and finds that all is apparently the same as before, he might be forced to go back into his sleep, and maybe not awaken again.

OK, if I remember correctly Lawrence was suddenly stricken with a sort of comatose state.. my fifteen year old brain seemed to have a soap opera side to it...

What it must be for thou, after all the happiness of the fairs and all to suddenly find thyself almost a widow. But it certainly must make thee love the king more than ever to know that in his heart thou mattereth more than his own very life.

I am so sure Lorin has some reason to believe this...

I am so lonely after Anne's death. 'Tis so sad that Laurie must needs lose two mothers, and she may ne'er have another. Laurie was an orphan at birth. We adopted her a few days after she was born, when we had been married two months. Anne couldn't have children. We thought she was cursed, but apparently she wasn't for 'twas while carrying my child she died. Now I know the guilt Lawrence felt last summer.

In the original stories, Lorin was married to a woman named Anne. "Laurie" is actually my younger sister laurel. She dies too.. not Laurel, thank heavens, but the fictional Laurie. Laurel is still alive and thriving. I dropped this storyline entirely in the book, providing Lorin with a love interest with a somewhat anachronistic social status, almost at the end of the book, the sweet Larisa, named.. you guessed it.. for lara in Doctor Zhivago She is mentioned later in this letter..

As to the guilt Lawrence is said to have felt "laast summer".. I suppose that's about Rolance. See yesterday's post.

Luckily Laurie spent most of her life away from Anne. I loved Anne intensely, but I don't know if I could have killed myself for her.

My, my... Lorin, you dog.

I will enclose a list of Peter's latest doings and sayings. The old ladies of the court can often be heard exclaiming that it's just like having baby Prince Lawrence back. Thou wouldst not believe how bright the child is. I guess when thou dost cross one handsome, stalwart, brave, romantic, wonderful man with a beautiful, loving, loyal, wonderful woman thou dost come up with one adorable, bright, perfect little prince! He's the pride of the court, with his mommy's eyes and gentleness, and his daddy's stature and quiet regality. One could swear the lad realizes his position as heir to the throne. He doesn't realize how close he came to becoming king.

Fortunately, Peter did not ingerit his father's tendency to become gravely ill every ten seconds or his mother's unexplainable invisibility...

I am in Lawrence's room now. He is stirring laboriously. I wish he would awaken soon. It is so painful to see one so close to me as the King as close to being gone as he is. I hope he doesn't awaken tho' until I have received of reassuring letter of love to him.

Hint, hint, Laura..

Lawrencium is draped in black. It's so depressing.

Many times a day Lawrence goes through a pattern of facial expressions. First he smiles lovingly. Then he looks as proud as can be. Suddenly there comes across his face, a look terrible to see, of hate and anguish. Then peace.

Sounds as if Lorin is reading his own letter to the king.

But today he is stirring, thrashing his head from side to side. Sean came in and said, "He's having a bad one, he is."

Emily is going to have a baby. Sean is so happy he can't keep it in. He wants a girl (surprise!) but will take a boy if he must.

Sean is Sean of Connery, a character created by a friend in Sacramento, Linda Laaksonen. She was such a talented artist.. i wish I could connect with her again. I will add one of her drawings to this post. Anyway, Sean of Connery, whose name comes exactly from whence you guess, is a Scots minstrel friend of Lawrence's. Emily, needless to say, is Sean's wife.

The thought of a child all thy own is such a warming thought. It gives one a feeling of wonder at the great love that is symbolized by this child and happiness as though and thy loved one anticipates its coming.

So how come the author of those words never had kids??? Thereby hangs a tale...

There is come to the court one Shannon O'Neill, a minstrel from Tyrone in Eire. He was an old friend of Lawrence's when both were gay youths.

Oh really? Do tell!

He is about 3 months older than thou. Surely thou hast heard of him? He is almost as famous as Sean himself and much more of a lover. Or was much more of a lover. He comes to Lawrencium with a bride on his knee. The girl's name is Heather and a right fair one is she.

The hardest thing to cut from my manuscript for AIK was Heather... but something had to go. Actually, Heather was in good company, as you will see if you stick with this blog and see what was in the penultimate ms of my novel.

She tortures poor Shannon by constantly talking about Sean, whom Shannon now despises. In return he starts talking about babies and how good Irishmen love lots of children. She is not the type to rush into things and like thou, a little afraid of her husband when such matters come up. Then Shannon, to prove himself, names all his brothers and sisters: Ronald, Patrick, Timothy, Kathleen, Colleen, Kevin, Erin, Peggy and Clancy. He finished this by enfolding her in his arms and kissing her. With this she melts and no more is said of Sean. She means it good naturedly, which Shannon realizes, but he's still worried.

Now I really am confused. I know the exact date i created Shannon because it coincidentally the day my nephew Shannon was born.. I did not know my older sister was going to name her son Shannon. It was the fourth of January, the day after my own birthday.. so was it 768? I will have to ask Shannon, my nephew, if he was born in 1967 or 1968.

Shannon is disturbed at the fact Lawrence might be distressed at the colour of his hair. Bright red. Luckily his eyes are blue, not green.

Say what? Oh, I get it.. another subplot.. Lawrence turned to a green eyed red head named Lanimere for solace while in self exile in Wales... my head hurts..

I must close now, I promised to take Larissa walking in the garden today.

My, my, Lorin, you dog!



We will look at the "next" letters to see if they are in better order...

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .